Behind the Grand Ole Opry Curtain: Tales of Romance and Tragedy
by: Robert K. Oermann
Published by: Center Street
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Reviewed by Wendy Hines
The Grand Ole Opry has been home to the greatest legends of country music for over eighty years, and in that time it has seen some of country music’s most dramatic stories unfold. A beautiful volume based on over 150 firsthand interviews with the stars of The Grand Ole Opry, these are stories that tell the heart of country—the lives that are lived and inspire the songs we love.
The book opens with how Johnny and June Carter Cash began their musical careers. The battle Johnny waged with drugs, their rise to stardom, how Johnny proposed and how they died within months of one another is just the highlights of their story. They may be gone, but their music will always be a part of country music.
The story of how Willie Nelson’s only son died on Christmas Day is heartbreaking, and it is surreal how Grandpa Jones found his good friend Stringbean (David Akeman) and his wife murdered one morning. Hee Haw was just never the same without him.
The interviews continue, telling the heartwarming story of how Vince Gill and Amy Grant found true love with one another. The truth of the tragedies that led to the loss of three stars all in the same month, starting the rumor of the “Opry Curse,” is also revealed.
Many, many more stories of singers of the Opry are told, some sad and some uplifting. Behind the Curtain reveals plenty of information that most country music fans will love.
Robert K. Oermann, The Dean of Nashville’s Entertainment Journalists, writes two weekly columns for “Music Row” magazine. He is also the Chairman of the Country Committee for the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles and serves on the Hall of Fame and awards committees for the Country Music Association.
Growing up with country music, I found this volume to be wonderfully entertaining and chock-full of tidbits about various stars that I just didn’t know. This one is definitely going on my keeper shelf!
Armchair Interviews says: This would be a wonderful gift for anyone who loves country music.
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